Many people think the toilet is the germiest place in their home. If you’re one of these people, it may surprise you to learn that your kitchen sink has more fecal matter in it than your toilet after you flush it. Gross, right?
If all the rooms in the home, the kitchen is a hot spot for bacteria including salmonella and E. coli, as well as mold, yeast and fecal matter. If you’re grossed out, you’re not alone. Cleaning may be a chore but it’s crucial for your family’s health.
Whether you’re ramping up your household cleaning due to coronavirus or just want to make better cleaning habits, here are the germiest places and items in your home that need your attention.
The kitchen holds some of the germiest items in your whole house. It’s vital to keep your kitchen clean to prevent fecal matter, salmonella, listeria and E. coli from spreading to your food.
Here are a few of the germiest kitchen items and spaces that need to be cleaned frequently and thoroughly.
- Kitchen sink
- Refrigerator handles
- The inside of the refrigerator
- Cutting boards
- Kitchen towels
- Dish sponges
- Coffee maker
- Can opener
- Pizza cutter
- Rubber spatulas
- Trash can
Not sure where to begin? Here are a few kitchen cleaning tips.
- Replace your dish sponge weekly. At a minimum, replace it at least once a month. Microwaving sponges is not effective.
- Use disinfectant wipes to clean your refrigerator door handles.
- Clean out the inside of your refrigerator with disinfectant wipes. Make sure you clean the drawers too. Veggie and meat compartments can be particularly germy – or any space you keep unwashed or uncooked food.
- Most coffee makers come with cleaning instructions. Clean your coffee reservoir accordingly. Typically, this should be done every three months.
- Change and wash your dish towels at least once a week.
- Have a cutting board dedicated solely to meat and another one for vegetables only.
- Clean your countertops daily with disinfectant wipes or spray.
- Do not wash your vegetables directly in the sink.
- Anytime you wash raw meat in the sink, clean the sink promptly afterwards with bleach and water.
- Clean your cutting boards with a bleach and water solution as well.
Many people leave the toilet seat up when they flush but did you know that fecal matter and bacteria shoots up and out of the toilet into the rest of the bathroom? This means germs can land on your toothbrush, makeup, hand towels, contact lens case, bath towels and else anything left out in the bathroom.
Viruses can spread quickly without proper cleaning and habit changes. When you flush without the lid down, a “toilet plume” releases into the air. The germs that are released into the air can last for up to six hours. You can prevent this by closing the lid when you flush the toilet.
Here’s a few tips for keeping your bathroom clean.
- Replace your bath towels and hand towels every three to four days.
- Always flush with the lid down.
- Using disinfectant spray, wipe down counters, faucets, plunger handles, toilet brush handles, knobs and handles in your bathroom.
- Scrub showers, sinks and bathtubs with a bleach solution.
- Wash your shower curtain.
- Replace your shower liner at least once every three months.
- Let the water run for a minute so germs can make their way out of your showerhead.
- Wash all bathmats and towels in hot water. Use bleach if able.
- Get rid of all loofahs.
Some household items that need to be cleaned circulate from room to room. Here are a few to keep in mind when cleaning the house.
- Game controllers
- Sport gear
- Remote controls
- Light switches
- Gym bags
It’s always a good idea to remove your shoes upon entering any home. When we leave our shoes on, we track germs we pick up in public throughout our homes. The easiest way to make this a habit is by leaving a shoe rack next to the door. Here are a few more tips to keep your home clean.
- Throw washable toys in the washer to cut down on germs.
- Use a disinfectant wipe on your keys.
- Wipe down your steering wheel, knobs, handles, etc., in your vehicle.
- Wipe down credit and debit cards with a disinfectant.
- Follow cleaning instructions for backpacks. Many are machine washable but check all tags to be safe.
- Wipe down your purse with a disinfectant wipe. Make sure to wipe all zipper pulls and handles as well as the bottom of the bag.
- Store sports gear in your garage or basement instead of inside the house. Soccer balls, for example, have been known to carry E. coli because they roll through animal feces outside.